Energy Transfer Partners, Sunoco fined for ethane-propane leak on pipeline

Construction for the Sunoco Mariner East pipeline.
Photo credit Jeremy Long/Lebanon Daily News via USA Today Network
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The parent company of the troubled Mariner East pipeline has been fined for problems associated with the first phase of the project. 

Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of Sunoco, has reached an agreement with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on corrosion problems on the pipeline: Energy Transfer will have to pay a $200,000 civil penalty fine and conduct a remaining life study of the project. 

Alex Bomstein, senior litigation attorney for the Clean Air Council, said the civil penalty is a drop in the bucket for Energy Transfer, compared to its annual revenue totaling tens of billions of dollars. But he has concerns about the life study requirement. 

A remaining life study looks at how long the existing pipeline can last and what parts should be replaced — and when. 

"The agreement proposes that Energy Transfer itself gets to pick an independent expert to conduct the study, and we have a lot of concerns over how independent that expert would be," he said.

Bomstein added the fine is not enough to deter Energy Transfer from engaging in the same "type of behaviors that they have been engaging in."

Energy Transfer did not return emails requesting comment on the matter.